Soon after the new templates and themes became available in January, I started mulling over the best plan for organizing the transition of ITCS pages to the new wider design. While on the one hand, the job seemed pretty overwhelming; at the same time it seemed an opportunity to go through outdated topics and do some website “housework.”
Now, this project isn’t something I have to do alone. I have two hard-working students and fifteen or so co-workers who author many of the ITCS subsites. But as the “coordinator” of the group, I felt there were a few preliminary steps we might take before embarking on the project.
Here’s what is working so far:
1. Think through the site’s content.
This includes not only the number of pages, documents and subsites in the CommonSpot site folder, but those documents or scripts in the site’s Tools folder as well. It’s just good to know the extent of information and how it is presented.
2. Understand the navigation of the site.
The easiest process is to keep the navigation the same, but we’ll also discuss in a future post how to gracefully retire pages without breaking the navigation. Remember that users may have a page bookmarked or other sites may link to a page in the site.
3. Meet with the other contributors to the site (if any) to brainstorm ideas.
During the ITCS contributor meeting, we looked at the new base template and themes and discussed ideas for a new ITCS template. Ideas on what to include (or not to include) were tossed around, some tossed out and others tossed onto a list. This conversation helped the group focus and agree on the next steps of the process.
4. Agree on the project’s tentative steps.
In the end, the group agreed on the following:
- We will keep the current navigation scheme. Users navigate the ITCS website by group (Faculty, Staff, Student) or by service (the Service Catalog).
- The next step is to create an ITCS base template to include the current navigation scheme (by user group and service), the name of the department and other conventions that should appear on every page.
- The new base template will be flexible enough so contributors can individualize it for their particular subsite.
In the end, the outcome of this meeting turned out to be two-fold: it gave our working group an opportunity to collaborate on ideas (some really good ones, by the way) and also to determine the next phase of this project. It turned out to be a very good beginning.
So while there will be many steps along the way—management approvals, drafts, updates to drafts, final approvals and so on, we’re all comfortable that this project is on its way to well-organized and well-managed.